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  1. #1
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Traffic in a right-turn only

    OK guys/gals. I have a real-life situation that I'm dealing with on my commute to work.

    The setup: Four-lane, non-divided with a WOL, speed limit is 45mph. A right turn lane begins, and the majority of auto traffic wants to get into this turn lane. I do not, and thus maintain my position toward the outside of the right-hand thru lane. A good many of these cars insist on passing me in the thru lanes and whipping across in front of me into the turn lane.

    Map of the area (I'm heading north). There's a light both at the arrow on the map and at the turn for the interstate ramps.

    I'd like to encourage them drivers to wait behind me and merge into the turn lane. I've tried moving out a bit more into the lane a bit more, but I'm worried I'm placing myself in danger by doing so.

    How can I encourage the cars to move into the turn lane behind me? I'll gladly clear anything up in the situation. Thanks.
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    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Sometimes when faced with heavy traffic, I'll go with the flow and then double back.

    Sometimes when faced with a no-win scenario, I pick a different route.
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    Senior Member Itsjustb's Avatar
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    cooperwx, I wish I had an answer. My daily commute has a very similar situation (I've posted rants about it before). Needless to say, I'll be watching this thread closely.

    edit: Maybe it's a North Carolina thing.
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    Part of my commute takes me along a road that passes by a big high school. To get to the main entrance, you take a right where I go straight. There's a light at the intersection but you are allowed to turn on red and with the good sightlines to the left, most people don't even bother stopping if it looks clear. As I come towards to the light, I'm going uphill and the road widens a good distance before the light. I used to move right at this point as I'm going pretty slow most days (15mph max) but I found that I'd often get trapped on the right as 90% of traffic goes right there. To avoid this, when the road widens, I don't move right. I move left and ride maybe 2 feet off the centerline. Almost everyone takes this as a hint that if they are turning right, to go around me on the right and if they are going straight to just get behind me. There are a few lost causes who insist on passing me on the left then swooping over to the right to make their turn but there's only so much babysitting that I'm willing to do. Some also pass on the right then go straight but again, not much I can do about that. I've gone from getting trapped on the right every other day to having one or two people a week pass on the left go right or on the right to straight. Much better in my opinion as with either of these stupid moves, at least I have room to manuever whereas before I'd be trapped near a high curb with nowhere to go.

  5. #5
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I'm pretty much with JJ - take more of the lane to discourage all but the most impatient idiots from swooping around you on the left so they can beat a few more cars to the turn.
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    Senior Member Itsjustb's Avatar
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    Thanks jj and cc--this is pretty much what I've been doing, taking the entire RTOL until I can safely merge left. In my case, I'm getting honks 2-3 times a week, and getting people gunning past me on the left as I'm merging usually once every 3-4 weeks.

    As I've said in other threads, I'm thinking about NOT signalling my merge, as this is the trigger for these people to accelerate and buzz me on the left. Added bonus, there's a concrete median at this same area, so there's no room for cars to pass me safely even if they wanted to.
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    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    I hadn't even considered moving into the turn lane...glad to know that doesn't work so I don't have to try it. I'm still a bit leery of moving towards the middle of the right thru lane. All it takes is one coffee-sipping driver to not realize I've done it and...
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    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    The only thing I can think of to add to JoeJack's comments is possibly trying a hand signal. Some times just the act of sticking out your hand and giving the slow/stop hand signal (palm facing back, arm strait and pointed down about 20* off of vertical) will cause a motorist to pause and think about what they are doing. But nothing is 100% sure to educate the motorized wackos.

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I'd be looking to get into the thru lane about 1000-500ft before the intersection, about where that black car is at the bottom of your map photo.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    I'd be looking to get into the thru lane about 1000-500ft before the intersection, about where that black car is at the bottom of your map photo.
    It looks more like you'd just stay in the outside lane, centerish and not ever merge into the RTOL (which starts about where the black car is). That is also what I'd do.

    Al

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    you can definetly position yourself with nuance depending on the days' traffic dynamics. when do you move into the thru lane is up to each unique traffic dynamic, but the sooner the better.

    this is where a lot of traffic is probably going 60MPH, eh? and there's a lot of people likely not paying attention and talking on their cellphones while they break the speed limits on the race to work?

    how fast are YOU going? are you wearing high vis clothing so the drivers notice you? is this uphill or level? I find being assertive is better than being timid in fast traffic, but running a Planet Bike Superflash or slomotion triangle off the left side helps get drivers cognition, regardless of lane position. I seem to get passed more safely using the setup below....

    If you come up on the right hand turn lane, and haven't found the spot to go into the thru lane, ride the extreme left of the right hand turn lane, until you find a gap to move over to the other lane.
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    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    You've got to start your move early. Sounds like you're trying too late to get out of the RT lane. By the time the lane starts, you're too late. Start several hundred feet back.

  13. #13
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    running a Planet Bike Superflash or slomotion triangle off the left side helps get drivers cognition, regardless of lane position
    I'd be looking to get into the thru lane about 1000-500ft before the intersection, about where that black car is at the bottom of your map photo.
    Some times just the act of sticking out your hand and giving the slow/stop hand signal (palm facing back, arm strait and pointed down about 20* off of vertical) will cause a motorist to pause and think about what they are doing. But nothing is 100% sure to educate the motorized wackos.
    Excellent advice. Combine all 3. Also, do you have a mirror?

    I run a bright blinkie, even during my morning commute. Well before the intersection I start checking for gaps in traffic with my mirror. When I see a gap, I use the slow/stop hand signal to increase that gap, and start to get over into the lane, encouraging right-turners to pass me on the right, not left. On a wide, fast street, I usually ride through the intersection in the right side of the through lane, to the left of the line separating the right turn only lane.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperwx
    OK guys/gals. I have a real-life situation that I'm dealing with on my commute to work.

    The setup: Four-lane, non-divided with a WOL, speed limit is 45mph. A right turn lane begins, and the majority of auto traffic wants to get into this turn lane. I do not, and thus maintain my position toward the outside of the right-hand thru lane. A good many of these cars insist on passing me in the thru lanes and whipping across in front of me into the turn lane.

    Map of the area (I'm heading north). There's a light both at the arrow on the map and at the turn for the interstate ramps.

    I'd like to encourage them drivers to wait behind me and merge into the turn lane. I've tried moving out a bit more into the lane a bit more, but I'm worried I'm placing myself in danger by doing so.

    How can I encourage the cars to move into the turn lane behind me? I'll gladly clear anything up in the situation. Thanks.
    If it hasn't been already said, merge out into the middle (or middle-right, like in the right tire track of the lane) will discourage people from whipping around. It sometimes helps to accelerate a little, if you've got something left in the tank, but just look back and find a gap in traffic, signal a merge to the left with a pointed, outstretched left arm, and move out.

    Sometimes it helps to communicate a bit with drivers coming up from behind if there is a long string of cars with no gap forthcoming. I will choose a moment and tell the next car coming up from behind to come around with a "beckoning" wave. Then, before the car is completely passed, but before the next car can ride up past me, I request the next car let me through by extending the hand "stop sign" style (palm toward the driver and the "stay back" wave) to create a small gap which I then fill.

    Another thing which helps if you are feeling strong and have a bit of snap in the legs, is to let the next car coming up from behind come past; while it is passing, accelerate, and as the rear bumper comes past you, smoothly merge into the passing car's wake. Be extremely cautious that the car, which is now in front of you, doesn't stop sharply, as cars can stop way quicker than bikes. This maneuver will force the following driver to fall back slightly; in this way you can create a gap for yourself.

    In all cases, once you have the gap, you have the freedom to move anywhere in the lane. This set of maneuvers is called "taking the lane." It allows you to control the lane as much as a lane can be controlled, and can be used in temporary fashion to keep cars from cutting in front of you, or to prepare for a left turn from the left turn lane.

    Whatever you do, don't make it a maneuver that the car has to "evade" by hitting the brakes hard or by swerving. Be as predictable as possible and take comfort in the fact that as long as all the maneuvers are smooth and predicatable, that there is not much scrambling on anyone's part, drivers are just folks like you and me who, while sometimes get frustrated when events get out of their control, don't really want to hit anyone out on the road.

    I'd suggest practicing these manuevers first where speeds are slower and the road only has one lane in each direction. Try picking a road where the traffic is kind of, sort of, heavy, but slow (around 25-35 mph, like a well used residential street), and trying these maneuvers at the approach to a stop sign. Many times it is a question of timing, and slower but well trafficked roads are a good place to gain your sense of timing.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    you can definetly position yourself with nuance depending on the days' traffic dynamics. when do you move into the thru lane is up to each unique traffic dynamic, but the sooner the better.

    this is where a lot of traffic is probably going 60MPH, eh? and there's a lot of people likely not paying attention and talking on their cellphones while they break the speed limits on the race to work?

    how fast are YOU going? are you wearing high vis clothing so the drivers notice you? is this uphill or level? I find being assertive is better than being timid in fast traffic, but running a Planet Bike Superflash or slomotion triangle off the left side helps get drivers cognition, regardless of lane position.

    If you come up on the right hand turn lane, and haven't found the spot to go into the thru lane, ride the extreme left of the right hand turn lane, until you find a gap to move over to the other lane.
    I'm on the road before traffic gets heavy. Most cars are probably doing about 50mph. I've got my hi-vis jacket or my ANSI class-2 vest on, as it's still fairly dark. I have a decent blinkie and a small reflector.

    It's a slight downhill, I'd imagine I'm traveling in the low 20's. So the speed difference is about 30mph. I am always in the right hand thru lane. Cars can pass in the same lane as it's a WOL, but I'd rather not have them pass at 50mph and then immediately cross in front of me into the turn lane while braking to a speed manageable for the turn they need to make.
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  16. #16
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    If it hasn't been already said, merge out into the middle (or middle-right, like in the right tire track of the lane) will discourage people from whipping around. It sometimes helps to accelerate a little, if you've got something left in the tank, but just look back and find a gap in traffic, signal a merge to the left with a pointed, outstretched left arm, and move out.

    Sometimes it helps to communicate a bit with drivers coming up from behind if there is a long string of cars with no gap forthcoming. I will choose a moment and tell the next car coming up from behind to come around with a "beckoning" wave. Then, before the car is completely passed, but before the next car can ride up past me, I request the next car let me through by extending the hand "stop sign" style (palm toward the driver and the "stay back" wave) to create a small gap which I then fill.

    Another thing which helps if you are feeling strong and have a bit of snap in the legs, is to let the next car coming up from behind come past; while it is passing, accelerate, and as the rear bumper comes past you, smoothly merge into the passing car's wake. Be extremely cautious that the car, which is now in front of you, doesn't stop sharply, as cars can stop way quicker than bikes. This maneuver will force the following driver to fall back slightly; in this way you can create a gap for yourself.

    In all cases, once you have the gap, you have the freedom to move anywhere in the lane. This set of maneuvers is called "taking the lane." It allows you to control the lane as much as a lane can be controlled, and can be used in temporary fashion to keep cars from cutting in front of you, or to prepare for a left turn from the left turn lane.

    Whatever you do, don't make it a maneuver that the car has to "evade" by hitting the brakes hard or by swerving. Be as predictable as possible and take comfort in the fact that as long as all the maneuvers are smooth and predicatable, that there is not much scrambling on anyone's part, drivers are just folks like you and me who, while sometimes get frustrated when events get out of their control, don't really want to hit anyone out on the road.

    I'd suggest practicing these manuevers first where speeds are slower and the road only has one lane in each direction. Try picking a road where the traffic is kind of, sort of, heavy, but slow (around 25-35 mph, like a well used residential street), and trying these maneuvers at the approach to a stop sign. Many times it is a question of timing, and slower but well trafficked roads are a good place to gain your sense of timing.
    Good stuff. All I can add is that I have a very similar situation on my commute.

    I'm traveling southeast - note the long right turn only lane, partially obscured by shadow; the speed limit is 45, but traffic is often moving at 50+. What you can't see is that this is on an uphill grade, not too steep, but gravity is definitely a hindrance.

    What I do often depends on traffic.

    If traffic up ahead is stopped at the light, I avoid the right turn lane altogether, and just ride in the center of the rightmost through lane, stopping behind the last car. When the light turns green, I move with traffic, moving aside when the gap to the car in front of me starts growing, which often is before I even reach the intersection. But I only move aside before I reach the intersection after looking back over my right shoulder and make sure no one is approaching from behind in the right turn lane. If someone is there, then I stay in the rightmost through lane, and only move aside after I'm in the intersection (assuming someone is behind me).

    If traffic is up ahead and moving, then I look back and decide when and where to move left based on what's going on. If there is a stream of through traffic, and no right turning traffic I might stay in the LONG right turn lane for a while, before signalling to merge left into the through lane. But if there is any right turning traffic, then I signal left and get into the center of that rightmost through lane right away.

  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Good stuff. All I can add is that I have a very similar situation on my commute.

    I'm traveling southeast - note the long right turn only lane, partially obscured by shadow; the speed limit is 45, but traffic is often moving at 50+. What you can't see is that this is on an uphill grade, not too steep, but gravity is definitely a hindrance.

    What I do often depends on traffic.

    If traffic up ahead is stopped at the light, I avoid the right turn lane altogether,
    I don't get it... if you are going straight, or left, why would you ever even get into the right turn lane anyway?

  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    I don't get it... if you are going straight, or left, why would you ever even get into the right turn lane anyway?
    That was my first reaction. Then I studied the arial photo (and read the OP a bit more carefully) and noted that the right turn lane is a thru lane too.

    Al

  19. #19
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    That was my first reaction. Then I studied the arial photo (and read the OP a bit more carefully) and noted that the right turn lane is a thru lane too.

    Al
    No, it's right only, though you may not be able to tell.

    But the key is it's very long, and traffic can be moving very fast.

    This is a situation where someone driving a piece of slow moving construction equipment might also use the right turn only lane, at least for a while, to allow faster through traffic to pass.

    I don't make a habit of it, but I recognize that traveling in an unoccupied right only lane, and once in a very rare while even never leaving it despite the fact that I'm going straight, is sometimes the most prudent thing to do. Why be in the way if you can safely and reasonably use a right only lane to be out of the way? Again, remember, I'm going around 10 mph and they're going 50+...

    Note that this is a place where while I rarely use the right only lane to go straight, I've never seen another cyclist leave it to go straight.

  20. #20
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    No, it's right only, though you may not be able to tell.
    (obviously the OP knows, so there is no point is discussing what reality is) but I do see that three lanes go straight, only possible if a RT and Thur shared lane. Those arrows in it do also look like they have a 'thru' finger on them.

    edit: oh, i was just focused on the first intersection reached when driving north. It does have a thru/rt lane, then after the intersection it becomes a RTOL. so we are both right.
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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Al, Gene was asking me about my situation in #17.
    You posted an image about the OP's situation.

  22. #22
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Al, Gene was asking me about my situation in #17.
    You posted an image about the OP's situation.
    And if you read #18 more carefully you will note I was clearly talking about the OPs situation, to which you responded: "no, its right only"

    Al

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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    And if you read #18 more carefully you will note I was clearly talking about the OPs situation, to which you responded: "no, its right only"

    Al
    I missed that - inattentional blindness, LOL. I did not expect you to be referring to the OP in a response to Gene who was writing about my situation, and so I didn't see it!

  24. #24
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    OP here To clear it up: at the intersection where the arrow is, the turn lane is also a thru lane. But the lane becomes a turn-only lane after that intersection, and this is where most drivers want to turn.
    06 Trek 7.5 FX

  25. #25
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    No, it's right only, though you may not be able to tell.

    But the key is it's very long, and traffic can be moving very fast.

    This is a situation where someone driving a piece of slow moving construction equipment might also use the right turn only lane, at least for a while, to allow faster through traffic to pass.

    I don't make a habit of it, but I recognize that traveling in an unoccupied right only lane, and once in a very rare while even never leaving it despite the fact that I'm going straight, is sometimes the most prudent thing to do. Why be in the way if you can safely and reasonably use a right only lane to be out of the way? Again, remember, I'm going around 10 mph and they're going 50+...

    Note that this is a place where while I rarely use the right only lane to go straight, I've never seen another cyclist leave it to go straight.

    Hmmm this is indeed quite counter to the VC method... compare crossing the 805 bridge at Clairmont Mesa Blvd... where there is a huge right lane... we were instructed to keep to the left of the right lane line to reduce driver confusion.

    Yet here you do exactly the opposite and cast off the motorist confusion factor with "I'm going around 10 mph and they're going 50+..."

    Speed should not matter... as Forester states... otherwise naturally slow cyclists should also claim similar "issues" with fast traffic. This is something you have stated "doesn't matter" when I have mentioned the unusually high speed limits on local roads.

    Yet here you are making the very same excuses.

    So if the traffic was moving at only 30MPH and you were moving at 10MPH... would you still stay in the RTL?

    How is this different from me leaving a Bike Lane and moving up hill with approaching 50+MPH traffic on El Camino Real... as I mentioned not long ago?

    Have you had some change of heart? Fear from the rear... surly you jest, not that old phobia. You should get a mirror and learn to monitor it every 3 seconds and be prepared to bail out.

    Your actions in that RTL make you an unpredictable cyclist. Oh the shame....

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